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Marketing Automation: What it is and How to Know if Your Firm Needs it

What is marketing automation, and what can it do for your firm?

Imagine this scenario:

While on your firm’s website, a prospect is intrigued by the topic of a guide you offer and fills out a form to download it.

On the personalized thank you page that appears with the link to download the guide, there is also a 2 minute video clip from a webinar you conducted embedded in the page. The prospect watches the video clip but doesn’t click the call-to-action link to watch the full webinar recording.

Two days later, an email is sent to the prospect with links to the webinar recording and presentation slides, which they watch and download.

Four days have passed and the prospect hasn’t contacted you or visited your website for more information, so an email is sent offering an eBook on their topic of interest.

Two days later, the prospect has opened the email but did not click the link to download the eBook. An email is sent to the prospect offering a case story on the success achieved by a client of your firm’s that is similar to the prospect. The prospect views the case story on your firm’s website, and signs up for an upcoming webinar they see offered on your site.

A week later when the webinar takes place, the prospect attends the event. In the follow up email to the prospect with the webinar recording and slides, there is also an offer for a free consultation that the prospect clicks and signs up for on your website.

A business development representative from your firm sends the prospect a personalized, customized email when scheduling the consultation because they have all of the prospect’s information about their interactions with your firm. During the consultation the business development representative has an intelligent, productive conversation with the prospect.

The prospect requests a proposal, and becomes a client upon signing a contract agreement.

You are able to measure results of each step of your lead generation and lead nurturing process as well as ROI of your marketing programs and campaigns.

Marketing automation has been there all along

Throughout this entire scenario, marketing automation is working behind the scenes to:

  • Manage lead generation
  • Automate the process of nurturing prospects based on their interests until they are ready to buy
  • Pass qualified leads over to CRM system for business development follow up
  • Measure results and ROI

Marketing automation replaces high-touch, repetitive manual processes with automated ones supported by technology solutions. It brings together all of your online marketing channels into one centralized system for creating, managing, and measuring programs and campaigns.

You can create and manage sophisticated and engaging campaigns that target customers and prospects with the right messages by personalizing marketing communications. Messages are sent at the right time by automating timing via pre-defined sequences and triggers driven by customer and prospect behavior.

Most marketing automation software solutions, such as HubSpot, InfusionSoft, Ontraport, Pardot, and Marketo, include the following features and many more:

  • Email Marketing
  • Landing Pages
  • Marketing Programs
  • Campaign Management
  • Lead Generation
  • Lead Scoring
  • Lead Management
  • CRM Integration
  • Social Marketing
  • Resource Management
  • Marketing Analytics

Is it right for you?

Does your firm need marketing automation? If you answer yes to most of the questions below, your firm should consider it.

  1. Do your prospects need multiple touches from marketing and/or business development during the process of becoming a client?
  2. Do you target buyers who do a lot of research before they contact you?
  3. Do you need to know the exact value that marketing programs deliver in order to determine ROI?
  4. Is the number of clients you have larger than the size of your business development team, making it difficult to call every prospect and have direct personal relationships with all clients?
  5. Are many of your new leads not immediately ready to buy from you and require nurturing?
  6. Do you use most, or all, of the capabilities of your current email marketing service provider?
  7. Does data drive most decisions about marketing at your firm?
  8. Is your marketing team creating (or is planning to create) significant amounts of content for your target prospects and clients?

Have questions about marketing automation? Write a comment and I’m happy to answer them.

Stay tuned for upcoming articles on what to consider when selecting a marketing automation solution, what lead scoring is and how to do it properly, and more. 

Interested in email marketing tips? Download our Email Marketing Guide for helpful hints when working on your email marketing efforts.

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Kim Cornwall Malseed Kim is an award-winning marketing communications pro with 14 years of success developing and executing online marketing programs for B2B firms in the technology, non-profit, and executive recruiting industries.

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